The History of Peroxisomal Research

  • Tsuneo ImanakaEmail author


Peroxisomes are subcellular organelles bounded by a single membrane. They are involved in a variety of metabolic processes, including the β-oxidation of very long chain fatty acids, as well as the synthesis of ether-phospholipids and bile acid in mammals. These organelles were first described in 1954 in the cytoplasm of the proximal tubule cells of the mouse kidney by Rhodin and were first known as “microbodies”. Subsequently, in 1965 de Duve et al. isolated microbodies from the rat liver and defined them as membrane-bound organelles containing various H2O2-producing oxidases along with H2O2-degrading catalase, and named them peroxisomes. The fatty acid β-oxidation system was identified in rat liver peroxisomes in 1976. Goldfischer discovered that peroxisomes were absent from the tissues of patients with Zellweger syndrome in 1973, and the metabolic defects that characterize this disease contributed to the elucidation of the metabolic roles of peroxisomes in humans. With regard to the biogenesis of the peroxisome in mammals, several models have been proposed and the following process is generally accepted. Pre-peroxisomes bud from the endoplasmic reticulum, and peroxisomal membrane and matrix proteins are then imported into these pre-peroxisomes. The mature peroxisomes grow by division. Here, I look back the history of peroxisomal research based on the investigation of the biogenesis and function of peroxisomes, along with peroxisomal diseases.


Peroxisome Biogenesis Function Lipid metabolism Peroxisomal diseases 



Endoplasmic reticulum


Peroxisome biogenesis disorder


Peroxisomal membrane protein


Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata


Very long chain fatty acid


X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy



The publication is supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Intractable Diseases from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. Pacific Edit reviewed the manuscript prior to submission.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesHiroshima International UniversityKureJapan
  2. 2.University of ToyamaToyamaJapan

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